Powerful photo captures teen’s final moments
WHILE Australians were settling into a four-day Easter weekend, shocking attacks were unfolding on the other side of the world.
Good Friday marked the single deadliest day in the Israel-Palestine conflict since the 2014 Gaza war began, with over a dozen Palestinians killed by Israeli soldiers at the border.
Among the estimated 17 victims was 19-year-old Abdul Fattah Abdul Nabi, who was shot dead while running away from the Gaza border, with his back to the Israeli military.
This photo, supplied to news.com.au by Palestinian photographer Mahmoud Abu Salama, shows the teenager's final moments before he is shot in the back of the head.
Separate footage purportedly shows the boy getting shot as he sprints away from the border, falling to the ground just before reaching a crowd.
Human rights groups have called for an investigation into the attacks, but their cries appear to be falling on deaf ears.
WHAT HAPPENED ON FRIDAY?
Last Friday marked the first day of a six-week protest, in which thousands of Palestinians marched to the border to assert their right to return to land they believe had been taken from them by Israeli authorities.
The marches were largely organised by Hamas, the largest of several Palestinian militant Islamist groups.
The organisation, which seeks to replace Israel with a Palestinian state, governs Gaza independently of the Palestinian Authority.
Palestinians pitched five camps along the border, extending from Beit Hanoun in the north to Rafah in the south.
The Israeli Defence Force (IDF) doubled its number of troops in response.
The IDF used live ammunition, rubber bullets and tear gas to keep thousands of Palestinians in Gaza from approaching the border fence.
Fattah was just one of 17 Palestinians who were fatally shot by the authorities along the border during the fighting, which also saw more than 1400 wounded, according to Palestinian health officials.
Reports in Al Jazeera suggest the victims were all men aged between 19 and 38.
"He had no gun, no Molotov, a tyre. Does that harm the Israelis, a tyre?" theWashington Post reported his brother Mohamed Abdul Nabi saying. "He wasn't going toward the Israeli side. He was running away."
A video aired on Palestinian media on Saturday appears to show Fattah running away from the border with a large tyre, before he is shot.
HOW AUTHORITIES RESPONDED TO THE VIOLENCE
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the military in the wake of the fatalities.
"Israel will act firmly and decisively to protect its sovereignty and the security of its citizens," he said.
According to The Times Of Israel, the military said it was responding to protesters throwing firebombs and rocks at soldiers, rolling burned tyres at them and opening fire.
The Israeli military issued a statement following the incident, claiming Fattah was a Hamas militant who had been involved in violence moments before he was shot.
It also claimed a number of the videos showed content "which only depict parts of incidents while other are edited or completely fabricated".
The army said troops had followed strict rules of engagement, and that protesters were putting themselves in "harm's way" by operating in a dangerous area.
It also warned it would "expand" its response if the violence continued.
On Sunday, Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman rejected global calls from human rights organisations for an investigation into the violence, saying troops only fired at Palestinian protesters who posed a threat.
"From the standpoint of the Israeli soldiers, they did what had to be done," Mr Lieberman told Israeli Army Radio. "I think that all of our troops deserve a commendation, and there won't be any inquiry."
He said those who protested peacefully were not harmed. "Whoever didn't get close to the fence was not shot."
Palestinians accused Israel of using disproportionate force in response to the protests.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said Israel was "fully responsible" for the attack.
"The large number of martyrs and injured in peaceful demonstrations affirms the need for the international community to intervene to provide protection for our people," he said in a speech broadcast on Palestine TV.
On Sunday, dozens of Israelis demonstrated against the violence in Tel Aviv, condemning the Israeli authorities for their response.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN NEXT?
Protests are expected to continue for the next six weeks.
A massive border march will take place on May 15 - known as Nakba Day among Palestinians - in accordance with the 70th anniversary of Israel's founding.
It's also the date the United States is expected to open its controversial new embassy in Jerusalem.
But the Associated Press reports it's unlikely that large-scale protests will continue daily, with larger turnouts expected after Friday noon prayers.
- With AP